September 1, 2014

‘Belle City’ by Penny Mickelbury

Posted on September 1, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

From Annette Gordon-Reed’s works on the lives of the Hemingses and Jeffersons in Monticello, Virginia, to the new book by author Chris Tomlinson on his familial connections with African-American running back LaDainian Tomlinson, much has been written recently about America’s tangled multiracial family tree. Penny Mickelbury, one of the founders of black LGBTQ fiction, joins that group with her new novel Belle City. (more…)

‘Inga’s Zigzags’ by Vica Miller

Posted on August 31, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

Ah, to be in Moscow in 1997, where the men are rich and virile, the women stiletto-clad sylphs, and the economic landscape infinitely fertile. With a fresh divorce and MBA in hand, the heroine of Vica Miller’s Inga’s Zigzags returns after a decade in New York to make her fortune in the capitalist playground Russia has become. (more…)

‘Prelude to Bruise’ by Saeed Jones

Posted on August 31, 2014 by in Poetry, Reviews

“I’ve seen how/brutality becomes the rhythm to a kind of/song”

-Carl Phillips

Saeed Jones may be one of the most necessary poets of our time. Our time, which, as of this moment, is ravaged by news of Ferguson, heartbreak in Gaza, Tina Fontaine, the murders of two transgender women in Detroit, a massive water shortage in California, earthquakes—to name a few things. As I type this, my news feed and inbox are full of letters and articles and tweets and comments and frustrations and fundraisers of all of the folks in my immediate community and their immediate communities and the vast global communities we occupy by sharing the same umbrella of identity, the intersection of race, ability, gender, class, occupation, illness. If it’s true (and I believe it is true) that our movements and traumas are reflected in the art that we consume, or that the art that we consume often tells a better story than any journalist, then Saeed Jones’ Prelude to Bruise is an archive of resistance. (more…)

‘Hypnotizing Chickens’ by Julia Watts

Posted on August 28, 2014 by in Reviews, Romance

In the opening of Hypnotizing Chickens, we find main character Chrys Pickett leaving a teaching job, with tenure, at Western Carolina State to move in with Dr. Meredith Padgett, a plastic surgeon with a faux mansion and maid. The move is a step up for Chrys, one she wasn’t entirely comfortable with, but she is glad for the relationship and the comforts of her new home. In spite of her disappointment with her new teaching job, she soldiers on, taking comfort in her relationship with her partner. But everything is not as it seems and Chrys is headed for heartbreak. (more…)

‘Best Gay Stories 2014′ Edited by Steve Berman

Posted on August 27, 2014 by in Anthology, Reviews

Lethe Press, the independent press that publishes the annual Best Gay Stories anthologies, takes its name from the river of forgetfulness and oblivion in Greek mythology. With the publication of Best Gay Stories Lethe’s name becomes a bit of a misnomer for two crucial reasons. The first is that most of the twenty stories collected in the 2014 edition deal with memory, to the extent that “memory” means the absence of forgetfulness. Only three of them are in the still-cutting-edge present tense; the rest are firmly in the past, confronting issues of wanting to forget the traumas and stigmas of growing up gay in the previous generation, but also of nostalgia. As editor Steve Berman writes in his introduction, “The men you will meet in these pages are pained by the realizations that they are no longer young boys who can leap off rocks into a swimming pool or can happen upon a tryst without consequence. Some are at the precipice of adulthood, some are already across the great divide of years[...]”. The second reason for the name’s irony is simpler: most of these stories are truly quite memorable and attentive. (more…)

‘Willful Subjects’ by Sara Ahmed

Posted on August 25, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Reviews

Goldsmiths College professor and highly regarded race and cultural studies scholar Sara Ahmed offers an expanded study of the “feminist killjoy” in her new book, Willful Subjects. (more…)

‘The River’s Memory’ by Sandra Gail Lambert

Posted on August 20, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

Not long ago, on a trip to Miami, I sat in the Charlotte airport waiting for my connecting flight, thinking about the art and literature of Florida. As a reasonably well-read and cultured New Englander, all that came to mind were Carl Hiaasen, Karen Russell, Art Deco, and the Indigo Girls’ song, “Salty South.” I’m fascinated by the unique art each geographical location in the US produces. For one country, our regions are so distinct, so unto themselves, and while strip malls and box stores do their insidious homogenizing work, I continue to seek out the ideas, expressions, geology, landscapes, flora and fauna that define a region. Reading Sandra Gail Lambert’s remarkable debut novel, The River’s Memory, I’ve found another name to add to my Florida list. (more…)

‘Olive Oil and White Bread’ by Georgia Beers

Posted on August 19, 2014 by in Reviews, Romance

Olive Oil and White Bread, the cleverly titled offering by romance novelist Georgia Beers, is the story of two women, one from a traditional yet accepting Italian-American family, and one from what can only be termed old-school, uppity American. Angelina Righetti’s family is warm and accepting. Jillian Clark has an apologetic father and a snooty, unsupportive mother. There is an immediate attraction when the women see each other from a distance at a softball game, but only meet months later. It’s clear from their early interactions that these two are meant to be together for a lifetime if they can only figure out what’s important in life and in relationship—and that’s where the problems begin. (more…)

‘If This Be Sin’ by Hazel Newlevant

Posted on August 17, 2014 by in Comics, Illustrated

I love comics about musicians, especially behind-the-scenes bios about their life and creative processes. So for me, Hazel Newlevant’s comic If This Be Sin, which features three music related stories, was like getting triple scoops of my favorite flavor. Plus, one of the stories is about the falling out of rock star musicians Wendy and Lisa with Prince, which this former Minnesotan couldn’t wait to read. What better way to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Purple Rain than with a little reality check on what Prince is really like? (more…)

’1960s Gay Pulp Fiction: The Misplaced Heritage’ Edited by Drewey Wayne Gunn and Jamie Harker

Posted on August 15, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Reviews

Gay pulp novels of the 1960s sell at steep prices these days. Their racy covers have great camp value, and since they were cheaply produced and meant to be easily disposed of, gay pulps are now collectors’ items. Gay pulps have even made inroads with academics, who have come to regard pulps as repositories of historical information. But it hasn’t always been so. (more…)